They say “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Well, maybe that’s true, but they forget that “absence can be tough on the heart.” Relationships have their fair share of ups and downs as it is. So what do you do when your relationship has to be long distance? Do you continue dating knowing that there are going to struggles? Or do you break up, even if it means giving up on a good thing?
If you decide to stay together, it’s going to be hard. But here are some tips that can help you survive your long distance relationship.
Communicate Often…and not just by texting!
It is so important to communicate with each other so that you consistently tell each other what is going on in your lives. There are many ways you can communicate these days, and it’s a good idea to mix it up. Make phone calls so you can hear each other’s voices. Send photos (or use snapchat) to share something that happened during the day. Video chats are nice, so you can feel like you are physically together. Text or email each other. And send love letters; nothing is quite as romantic as seeing your partner’s feelings for you poured into a letter.
Although communication is essential, be careful you do not communicate too much. You might feel like you need to talk all day to make up for the distance, but that is unnecessary. You do need time apart so that you do not give yourself the opportunity to get easily annoyed or tired of talking to each other. Some couples like to say a quick good morning and then talk in the evening.
Play an online game together. Watch a TV series or movie at the same time. Read the same book. Find simple experiences for you to enjoy together so that it doesn’t feel like you are living in different worlds.
Set Ground Rules
You both need to be on the same page as far as your relationship goes. If one of you feels uncomfortable about the other doing a certain activity, you need to voice it. Agree to some rules for one another. Lack of doing so can create a misunderstanding or pain that can be avoided by simple rules.
Respect Each Other
You are two separate people. Each of you has different backgrounds, experiences, interests, and opinions. Respect each other by understanding and appreciating the differences. Sometimes distance can make disagreements worse because you can’t always express your intentions when you’re not physically together. Make sure you clarify things for your significant other so that you don’t make room for misunderstandings. If an argument does arise, decide when to talk it out. Some people need the time to process, while others need to solve it right away. Respect each other and know that disputes will happen.
Another way you can show respect to your partner is by respecting their schedule. If you know he/she has something they need to focus on, give him/her the time to do just that. Call when appropriate, not when you know it’s a busy time. With that being said, it is crucial you let each other know what your schedule is like so they can do this.
Take This Time For You
Time away from each other allows for you to spend more time with yourself. Use it to do things you want to do, whether they are hobbies or goals. Spend time with family and friends. Think of this time as a time for growth. But make sure you tell your significant other about what new and exciting thing you’re doing.
It is always important, to be honest with each other, but even more so when you cannot see each other as often. If something happens that your significant should know about, you need to respect them by being truthful. There is no point in spending time with someone you aren’t going, to be honest with. Also, be honest about how you are feeling or if they hurt you. These hard conversations are stepping stones to a stronger relationship. Deciding not, to be honest, allows small problems to become mountains.
Be honest with yourself as well. It’s okay to admit how you are feeling. Some days are going to be harder than others, and it’s okay to let it out. Perhaps talking with each other or someone else may help. It’s not easy being in a long distance relationship and missing the one you love, but hopefully, it’s just temporary.
On the other hand, be honest with yourself about how you feel about the relationship. You may come to a point where you just feel like the relationship is no longer worth it. Be honest with yourself if that time comes. Pretending you feel something that is not there will not do anyone any good.
Trust is also key in the relationship. You have to not only be trustworthy yourself but trust your partner. Jealousy can seep in before you know it, and if this is something that you are struggling with, you may want to read our post on ways to overcome jealousy.
Share Something of Yours
Many couples enjoy giving each other something to keep while apart. This could be an article of clothing, something from your relationship, or something sentimental. The couples who have done this before say they feel like they have a part of the other person with them. It might even be fun to exchange this particular item each time you see each other.
Don’t Make it a Contest
It can be tempting to keep score on who has started the communication more or who has made more visits. It is not healthy to keep a record of who is doing what in the relationship. If you are both putting effort into keeping the relationship strong, that is all that matters.
You may have people in your life telling you that it would be better for you to break up. While it is wise to listen to counsel from others, the status of your relationship must be determined by you and your partner. Together you need to decide what is best. I know many long-distance couples who made it through and have amazing marriages. So, don’t give up if this relationship is important you. I hope that this New Year brings plenty of opportunities to spend time with your long-distance love!